By Phil Grove
In late March, it was assured that history would be made at this year’s state cross country meet as the PIAA added another classification beginning this season. Although the new division consists of smaller schools, Class A won’t play second fiddle to the larger teams. “Single A” is smaller in numbers, but pretty big in talent in 2012.
Girls - Individuals
She was the chaser in 2011, doing all that she could to stay close to last year’s all-everything – Angel Piccirillo – at Hershey in the fall and then again at Shippensburg in the spring.
On Saturday at Parkview, Kennedy Weisner most likely will be the chased as the junior from Elk County Catholic stands as a strong favorite to win gold in the new Class A.
Second-place finishes in an unexpected meeting with Dallas’ Regan Rome at the Ridgway Invitational and in the loaded field at the Reebok-Manhattan Invitational are the only blemishes on Weisner’s otherwise perfect season. Her year featured victories at the PTXC-4, McQuaid and Bradford invites. At McQuaid she boasted a course record
However, Weisner is not the only decorated runner in Saturday’s field as a total of eight medalists from 2011 are in this year’s A race. Also, Alyssa Brandis of Central Cambria, Alexa Botelho of New Hope-Solebury, Casey Norton of Troy and Weisner doubled as medalists in 2011 who also won their Class A district races last week.
The big advantage for these runners – they will have Parkview at its best in the first race of the day.
Girls - Teams
A year ago, top ranked Elk Lake was nipped by St. Basil Academy by three points for the Class AA state title. The Warriors appear primed for a strong run at the Class A crown in 2012 as they return four of last year’s final seven and feature a roster of two sophomores, a junior and four seniors.
The District 2 squad has been atop the state rankings and appears ready to hoist the champion’s trophy after mudding its way to the District 2 title. Forty-seven points and the team title at the PIAA Foundation race was another high point for Elk Lake, which was 60 points ahead of Montrose in the preview to Saturday’s finale at Parkview.
Central Cambria (#2) and Penn Cambria (#5) have battled all year. Central Cambria won the Laurel Highlands League meet, while Penn Cambria was third. In District 6, Central Cambria came out on top with 33 points, while Penn Cambria also advanced to Hershey with 48. Central Cambria also won the Bear Mountain and Forest Hills events, along with the Slippery Rock Invitational, while Penn Cambria was second at Ridgway..
West Middlesex (#4) was a solid winner in the always competitive District 10 race, placing four in the top 10 to win the title in Sharon. The Big Reds also came out on top in the Cochranton, Sharpsville, Hornet Harrier and Big Red (White) competitions.
And New Hope-Solebury rocketed to the #3 poll spot with its impressive 16 points to win the District 1 title. District champion Botelho led the parade of NHS runners at the front.
Ranked earlier in the year, District 7 champion Laurel was the runner-up at the Slippery Rock, Hornet Harrier and Big Red (Red) events. Also, Wilmington Area was a surprise runner-up in District 10, having a pair of runners in the top 10.
I. 1 Alexa Botelho, Jr 19:51 6:24 New Hope-Solebury
II. 1 Elizabeth Trowbridge, Jr 22:11 Elk Lake
III. 1 Kate Mowrey, Fr 6:08 20:54 Delone Catholic
IV. 1 Casey Norton, Sr 3:13 10:58 18:35 6:00 Troy
V. 1 Maria Snyder Northern Bedford 21:08.00
VI. 1 Alyssa Brandis, Sr 18:57 6:07 Central Cambria
VII. 1 Emily Maxwell, Sr* 20:14 6:31 Laurel=
VIII. No A Teams
IX. 1 Weisner, Kennedy 11 Elk County Catholic 18:23.00
X. 1 Olivia Mamula, Jr 6:18 13:24 20:40 6:40 Cambridge Springs
XI. 1 Cassidy Mason, So 22:46 7:21 Minersville Area
XII. 1 Falherty, Carina Masterman 21:55.55
2 1 Kennedy Weisner, So 18:52 6:05 Elk County Catholic (9)
12 6 Alyssa Brandis, Jr 19:40 6:20 Central Cambria (6)
15 7 Jenny Vanetten, Fr 19:44 6:22 Elk Lake (2)
17 McKenna Spence, Jr 19:48 6:23 Cranberry (9)
18 Violet Learn, So 20:01 6:27 Mansfield (4)
19 Alexa Botelho, So 20:02 6:28 New Hope-Solebury (1)
22 Casey Norton, Jr 20:09 6:30 Troy (4)
25 Dee Dee Adams, Jr 20:16 6:32 Freedom Area (7)
Boys - Individuals
From District 4 comes a duo apparently destined to reach the finish line first. Of course, will it be Northeast Bradford’s Sam Williams and then NEB’s Curt Jewett, or vice versa?
At the PIAA Foundation meet, Williams led the 1-2 finish by seven seconds as Northeast Bradford claimed the Class A team title. At the District 4 meet, it was Jewett claiming the top prize over Williams.
This year’s field features 13 returning medalists, tied with the Class AAA girls’ race for the most. Seven competitors lined up in the Class A boys’ race on Saturday finished in the top 10 in Class AA a year ago.
Luke Jones of Elk Lake and Rico Galassi of Holy Cross also have battled all season long, with Jones getting the upper hand at the District 2 meet. Jones is among the 2012 district race winners who also are returning medalists, being joined by Jewett, Ryan Smathers of North East, Ryan Archer of Vincentian Academy, Barrett Kemp of Oswayo Valley and Maplewood’s Jeremy Parsons.
Jones was third to the NEB runners at Foundation, while Ryan Archer was only another four seconds back.
Boys - Teams
With a pair of returning medalists at the front of their pack, Northeast Bradford has turned back all class challengers in 2012. A 1-2 finish at the PIAA Foundation Class A race resulted in a 37-point margin over Vincentian Academy, which featured brothers Ryan and Alex Archer in the top 10.
Northeast Bradford also claimed the NTL League championship, was second at McQuaid and led the A schools in PTXC-4.
With course conditions most likely soft at best because of this week’s deluge from Hurricane Sandy, other teams could become factors, including Saegertown. The mud-tested Panthers slipped past #5 West Middlesex by a point in the District 10 meet despite a sub-par performance by their No. 1 runner and 2011 state medalist, Hunter Johnston. Previously unranked and now #3, Saegertown was fourth at Foundation, while District 12 winner Masterman was fifth.
West Middlesex won the Hornet Harrier and Big Red titles and was second at Cochranton and Sharpsville. With brothers Ryan and Alex Archer as returning medalists, Vincentian should have two solid scorers near the front of the pack. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart had two in the top 10 en route to the District 7 title.
It looks like it could be crowded at the top as the Keystone state ushers in the new three-class era.
I. 1 Greg Wagner, Jr 16:29 5:19 Jenkintown
II. 1 Luke Jones, Sr 18:18 Elk Lake
III. 1 Brady Wilt, So 5:03 10:53 17:24 Biglerville
IV. 1 Curt Jewett, Sr 2:38 9:07 15:41 5:03 Northeast Bradford
V. 1 Collin Day Meyersdale 17:21.00
VI. 1 Bryce England, Jr 16:51 5:26 Williamsburg
VII. 1 Ryan Archer, Sr 16:34 5:21 Vincentian Academy
VIII. No A Teams
IX. 1 Barrett Kemp 12 Oswayo Valley 16:50.10
X. 1 Jeremy Parsons, Jr 5:15 11:15 17:27 5:38 Maplewood
XI. 1 Wesley Yutko, So 18:57 6:07 Minersville Area
XII. 1 Ferry, Matt Science Leadersh 17:37.00
2 Luke Jones, Jr 16:17 5:15 Elk Lake (2)
3 Rico Galassi, Jr 16:26 5:18 Holy Cross (2)
4 Sam Williams, Jr 16:29 5:19 Northeast Bradford (4)
5 1 Ryan Smathers, Jr 16:30 5:19 North East (10)
7 Aaron Valerosa, Jr 16:42 5:23 Towanda (4)
8 3 Jordan Jackson, Jr 16:42 5:23 Wellsboro Area (4)
10 4 Ryan Archer, Jr 16:48 5:25 Vincentian Academy (7)
13 6 Barrett Kemp, Jr 16:52 5:26 Oswayo Valley (9)
15 8 Alex Archer, Jr 16:58 5:28 Vincentian Academy (7)
19 Curt Jewett, Jr 17:00 5:29 Northeast Bradford (4)
20 Kelby Mullen, Jr 17:01 5:29 Sullivan County (4)
22 Jeremy Parsons, So 17:02 5:30 Maplewood (10)
25 Hunter Johnston, Jr 17:07 5:31 Saegertown (10)